Prairie Tarot is quite a visually challenging one.
This is this deck's equivalent to the Hanged Man, and certainly the man here is hanging, just not upside down. Instead, his flesh is pierced by hooks, and it is from these that he hangs, his weight suspended and held by his own skin and sinew.
In some tribes, this rite was called the Sun Dance, and this looks like the association of the deck creator, given the bright orb in the sky behind him. Although to uninformed eyes this could well look like a form of torture, in fact this was an initiation ritual willingly entered into. It was a way of entering into a trance state, to commune with the "Great White Spirit". Shaman's also practised this, seeking healing. In this manifestation, the symbolism echoes well the descriptions of Odin hanging from Yggdrasil (the World Tree) which is often seen in depictions of the Hanged Man. So, a card of sacrifice embraced for spiritual development, social growth, and healing. And, in participating in this ritual, of course the men (and it was only men in the Sioux tribes who carried out this practice) were exempted from day-to-day routines for a while. A time out of everyday life to commune with the numinous.
This card raises the questions: what am I willing to sacrifice today? What do I need to do in order to grow and learn? How can I connect with the divine? I think I'll have to get back to you on that one!
How about you? What do you see in this card? And is there something you need to sacrifice or experience today?
I am grateful for the reminder that we can learn from any experience, no matter how seemingly painful.